NEW YORK – This morning I woke up before dawn and rode the subway downtown. By 7:00 am there were hundreds gathered two blocks north of Wall Street, across from Liberty Plaza and every minute the crowd grew. There was a massive police presence and lines of helmeted officers blocked us from advancing south, so groups of a few hundred each started marching east. The police had frozen a large area around the stock exchange and set up checkpoints at each entrance, closing off public roads and sidewalks. If you had a political opinion, you could not enter.
We gathered at each chokepoint and we took the streets. People locked arms in long lines across the street and stopped the workers heading to Wall Street. Over the next few hours, as I wandered through the streets, every intersection toward Wall Street that I saw was jammed with people. The police would periodically push through and open a corridor, letting workers with badges pass, and we would periodically close it again. Some of the people passing through nodded their heads and smiled at us, others yelled and cursed, and a few brave ones stopped to talk. At one point, to clear the intersection, police held up metal barricades and charged into the crowd, knocking people to the ground, rushing past them, then arresting them.
At 11 am many people left the intersections downtown and gathered in Liberty Plaza, which was surrounded by police and metal barricades zip-tied together. They were only letting people in and out through one of two entrance’s and checking them as they went. Much of the crowd gathered outside, reluctant to enter the pen. Then a small group pulled the barricades apart at one section and a crowd flowed toward them to help. Within minutes an entire wall was down and the barricades were piled in the center of the park. It was amazing.
Back into the streets for me, there’s still a whole lot of action before this day ends.